For Email Marketing you can trust

You Will Get Sick

You Will Get Sick

A Review by David Schultz



Wonderfully odd and initially endearing, this debut play written by Noah Diaz spirals into bizarre themes. The concept is intriguing, but the end result is too metaphorical with vague pointless allusions to The Wizard of Oz. The playbill has all the characters named as numbers from #1 to #5.  Better to not connect emotionally and keep the audience at a distance. Though the elderly Callan (Linda Lavin) is given a name. As this 85-minute play starts Callen is answering an ad she saw in a flyer. She is chatting with a mysterious man on the payphone. Pre cell phone timeframe, hence the phonebooth is her only way to reach the man in question.


A picture containing person

Description automatically generated

Linda Lavin (Photo by Joan Marcus)


#1 (Daniel K. Isaac) speaks tentatively at first. He has an ailment that he cannot name. His young body is failing him as he loses his physical mobility in slow incremental ways. The illness is never directly addressed within the play, better to create a Rorschach interpretation up to each viewer to discern the illness at hand. #1 is willing to pay $20.00 for Callen to call and tell his sister the bad news. The whispers of his depilating affliction are told via phone as a practice run so the news

A picture containing wall, person, indoor

Description automatically generated

Daniel K. Isaac (Photo by Joan Marcus)


can be transferred to his sister #3  (Marinda Anderson). The limb paralysis of this young man takes new everchanging forms with the illness taking surreal visual aspects that draw direct parallels to The Wizard of Oz. The fact that Callen is attempting to be cast in a Community College production of the same tale as a young Dorothy makes even less sense. Though it does give Miss Lavin a few choice moments to warble and croak a rendition of “Over the Rainbow” in a wickedly sweet off-key manner.


A group of people sitting on a stage

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Linda Lavin, Daniel K. Isaac, and Marinda Anderson. (Photo by Joan Marcus)


An off-stage narrator named #5 (Dario Adani Sanchez) in the playbill comments of the various proceedings and is finally revealed in the last scene. His portentous commentary runs throughout not unlike a verbal subtitle for a foreign film. Callen and her ill friend slowly form a symbiotic understanding as each time a favor is requested from #1 he pays her various monetary amounts. The sense of unknown terror and doom is set up from the get-go. A loud screeching bird like sound pops up to unnerve the senses. A one throwaway scene a man on the side of the stage attempts to sell insurance against these large unseen birds. It seems these flying creatures variously swoop down from the skies and pick up frail and sick people to heaven…hell…the metaphors are writ large. Callen’s own husband was taken awhile back she bristly mentions in passing. The avant-garde aspects spiral as the unnamed disease causes #1 to initially start coughing up hay, then in a more dreamlike manner he becomes a disjointed scarecrow with his body displayed in a fantastical visual scene. The play always seems to be going somewhere intriguing but the insights and meaning seem vague and distant. The stark grey claustrophobic overall look of the play, set design by dots and the muted lighting by Cha See add to the insular feel of the work. In the final moments the set opens up with a dazzling sun-kissed stage, a wheat field in Kansas, where the denouement is unfurled, as the unseen narrator is revealed.

Two men standing in a field of tall grass

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Daniel K. Isaac and Dario Ladani Sanchez. (Photo by Joan Marcus)


The culmination of all the pain and sorrow is discarded as this experimental Oz infused work draws to a close. Are these people finally home? Are they Dead? Are they in an Existential limbo? Are you still awake to care? Even though at times the play irks and flails about aimlessly the themes do give one pause. Days later the small minuscule moments do return in memory. A rare thing indeed…. The absurdist irritating act of sitting through the 85 minutes work is harder than the act of thinking about it afterwards. In retrospect the dreamlike aspect of the tale floats in your mind as the idiosyncratic scenes are rewired

like a fragment of a disjointed dream.


You Will Get Sick

Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre

Laura Pels Theatre, 111 West 46th Street

Thru December 11th